Monday, May 28, 2012

Travel Journal#8.8: Mayapur, Radhadesh, Amsterdam

Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 8, No. 8
By Krishna-kripa das
(April 2012, part two)
Mayapur, Radhadesh, Amsterdam
(Sent from Newcastle upon Tyne, England, on May 28, 2012)

What I Was and What I Did

The last half of April I continued chanting on harinama and dressing the harinama Deities in Mayapur. I also connected with some of my Mayapur friends before leaving the dhama for a year or two. On Aksaya Tritiya, a day of new beginnings, I left Mayapur for Europe, and a wild six days, beginning with a crazy train trip to Chennai, a flight on SriLankan Airlines to London the next day, and a drive to Radhadesh the day after, for Kadamba Kanana Swami’s Vyasa Puja the day after that, and the maha-harinama in Amsterdam on Queen’s Day, the day after that, the last day of the month.

I went to a lot of Bhakti Vidya Purna Swami classes during that end of my Mayapur stay, and I share realizations from him and from a few more senior devotees in Mayapur. Also I have a lot of very beautiful realizations about the guru-disciple relationship and the practice of Krishna consciousness from Kadamba Kanana Swami and his disciples from his Vyasa Puja in Radhadesh.

I give special thanks to Isvara Prabhu of Touchstone Publishing, the JPS Office, Pandava Prabhu, Advaita Candra Prabhu of Torchlight Publishing, and Vrajavilasa Prabhu for their kind donations that helped me return to Europe when Kingfisher Airlines cancelled my flight, and I needed $200 to book another one. Thanks also to the Mayapur Harinam Department for sustaining me in Mayapur.


May 28–June 1: Newcastle upon Tyne, England
June 2–3: Birmingham Twenty-four Hour Kirtana
June 4–June 12: Newcastle upon Tyne, England
June 12: Leeds Nama-hatta
June 13: Sheffield Nama-hatta
June 15–16: Brahmacari program at Bhaktivedanta Manor
June 17: London Ratha-yatra
June 17–19: London
June 20–21: Stonehenge Solstice Festival
June 22–July ?: England
July ?–July 24: Belfast (with visits to Inis Rath and Dublin)
July 25–27: Paris
July 28: Geneva?
July 29–30: Zurich
July 31–August 5: Polish Woodstock
August 6–August 15: Croatian harinama tour or Berlin and the Polish tour or Czech and Slovakia
August 16–19: Czech Woodstock (Trutnov)
August 20–September 1: Croatian harinama tour or the Polish tour, Berlin, and Leipzig
September 2–September 7: Kirtan Mela near Leipzig
September 8: Leipzig Ratha-yatra

September 9–15: open, maybe program in Slovakia
September 16–22: Ukraine festival
September 23–October 29: The North of England
October 30–31: New York City
November 1–November 18: Upstate New York (SDG and Ma)
November 19–December 15: Gainesville and Alachua Festival of the Holy Name
December 15–January 7, 2013?: Vaishnava Youth Bus Tour
January 8–April 20, 2013: Gainesville Krishna House

Final Mayapur Memories

the altar:

At our temple in Mayapur, I love looking at Radha-Madhava (the Radha-Krishna deities) and the eight young ladies (
sakhis) who are very happy to serve Them. In addition to the ecstasy of the Radha Krishna couple and Their loving relationship, in Mayapur we have Their confidential girlfriends who assist Them in Their pastimes and who appear completely satisfied to do so. When I came to Mayapur in 1994, the Panca-tattva (Lord Caitanya and His four principal associates) had not manifested on their own altar. At first it was confusing that here in Lord Caitanya’s birthplace we had these awesome large deities of Radha Krishna and Their associates and just a very small deity of Lord Caitanya. But when I considered it further, I concluded that the altar was showing us very vividly what Lord Caitanya had come to teach—that service to the Divine Couple, Radha-Krishna is the highest perfection and the highest happiness. That is what the eight sakhis are demonstrating and reminding us of. In this way, I came to see it as most appropriate. Another nice feature is that we are brought up to value male-female relationships as the ultimate experience. Such love is glorified in movies and books. In the material world, the love general does not live up to our expectations of it, and then it comes to an end. The love exhibited by Radha-Madhava and Their eight girlfriends who serve Them, not like that. It is eternal and faultless, and it really is the love we have always been looking for, only in the wrong place.

with friends:

In Mayapur, several times during the end of my stay I had lunch with my friend, Shanti Parayana Prabhu, and his wife Rasamayi Devi, disciples of Indradyumna Swami, who I knew from the Polish festival tour. They are building a house there in Mayapur, and they have a garden with quite a variety of vegetables growing. We had five or six vegetable preparations for lunch, all from their garden. Some spices were also home grown. I remembered hearing how Srila Prabhupada wanted the devotees to grow their own food, and they are showing a good example. It was very wonderful. In my reading, I came across a quote about food grown in Navadvipa dhama. “
Simply by eating the food grown in Navadvipa-dhama, one gets love of Godhead.” (Gauradesa, p. 22) Thus I became even more inspired.

a lesson from the Godruma-dvipa

harinama party visited Godruma-dvipa, the island associated with the devotional practice of chanting the glories of the Lord and the home of Bhaktivinoda Thakura. As we turned down one road within 50 meters we passed four groups of men of various ages sitting on the side of the road, two groups on each side, playing cards. A few of them would look up from their card game for a few moments when the chanting party passed and then continue playing, apparently oblivious to the fifteen or so devotees of various countries singing, dancing, playing musical instruments nearby, with an incredibly loud sound system. We stopped for some time about 10 meters from one of the groups of card players at an intersection. A crowd of about 30 women and children gathered, all watching, some smiling, some clapping, and a few of the children dancing. For the five or ten minutes we were there the ladies and the children were more or less focused on the kirtana party. The kirtana stopped and one Bengali devotee spoke briefly about the chanting and encouraged everyone in the crowd to raise their hands and chant one time the Hare Krishna mantra, and many did, all except for the group of men, who continued playing cards. Srila Prabhupada, of course, considered things like card playing a waste of time. Here you could see practically why. The attention of the group of men was completely distracted from the devotional service to Lord. Even though they were residents of the holy dhama in the presence of the most auspicious spiritual practice, the loud chanting of the holy name, which their island was famous for, they showed practically no interest in it. It was striking to see the power frivolous attachments have to cover our natural interest in devotional activities.


I planned my leaving of Mayapur so I would catch the first day of Candra Yatra with the boat festival of Radha Madhava, one of my favorite Mayapur festivals, and then catch the temple opening in Chennai. However, I tried to do so many things on my last day in Mayapur, I could not pack to the end of the day, and I missed my train to Howrah, and thus I missed my train to Chennai. I stayed overnight at the Howrah train station, chanting
japa until it was time to go to the Kolkata temple for mangala-arati. I hoped to get a seat on the next day’s train at the foreign tourist quota office, but unfortunately there were no seats. Because I had a flight to catch, I had to take the train anyway, with a general ticket but no seat. Thus I joined the ranks of those people who I never thought well of who sleep on the floor of the trains. I only slept about three and a half hours in such an awkward situation. During the day, I slept in the upper berth of a friendly, older, Vaishnava gentleman for a couple of hours. When we stopped in big cities, I would chant with my harmonium on the platform until the train started moving and then jump back on. I sat or stood by the door of the train, mostly working on my blog and doing some proofreading. I sat near the pantry car of the train, which was austere because servants were carrying food back and forth all the time. One of the head men in the pantry car saw I was not eating anything but the puffed rice I brought from Mayapur, and he had his people give me chapatis and sugar. I do not usually eat the cooked grains in public places, but I accepted his charity because of his good heart and because I was hungry. The trip was an austere twenty-six hours, and I was glad when it was over. I figured out how to get to temple by two buses and a auto rickshaw for a hundred rupees or so. As we drove down the long driveway of the temple the final lecture of the installation ceremony by Jayapataka Swami was broadcast on loudspeakers along the way. I had left Mayapur, the base of Jayapataka Swami, and now he was greeting me in Chennai ISKCON. I met a devotee I knew from Gainesville, and he showed me where to get prasadam, and although it was 9:30 p.m., there was much left. I felt protected by Krishna although passing through very awkward situations. The next day I flew on SriLankan Airlines to London, changing planes in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and thus going on a new airline, and through a new city and country for me. I was not bold enough to chant in the Colombo airport.
Nectar from Kadamba Kanana Swami’s Vyasa Puja in Radhadesh

from Shyamanandana Prabhu and his drama about Ramayana:

The nondevotees think they party but they don’t. I joined the Hare Krishnas because they have the best parties.

Two of Dasaratha’s sons were out of town on the day of Lord Rama’s originally scheduled coronation, because due to inauspicious omens, Dasaratha wanted to do the ceremony as soon as possible.

Dasaratha could tolerate fulfilling his wife Kaikeyi’s desired boon that her son Bharata become king, but to separate himself from Rama by sending Rama to the forest was completely unthinkable for him.

Laksmana glorifies Rama as being so virtuous that even His greatest enemy could not find any fault in Him.

A woman who does no other religious principle than serving her husband attains the highest heaven.

Rama did not want Sita to suffer living in the forest, but when He realized that she would suffer more being without Him, He told her to come with Him.

Kadamba Kanana Swami:

Things are usually less than one plans. That is the nature of this world. After great endeavor usually things do not come out as nicely as hoped.

One cannot stay one’s whole life in the grihastha ashrama. One may remain in the other ashramas, but the scripture says at age fifty one must leave grihastha life for the next stage.

We are situated in this material world according to how we deal with sex life. One engaged in illicit sex goes to the lower planets or the hellish worlds. Those inclined to passion and not inclined to dharma, exist on the earthly planets. One whose sex life is regulated by dharma can live in the heavenly planets. The Prajapatis, who use sex only to populate the universe, live on planets like Janaloka and Mahaloka. Tapaloka is the abode of the brahmacaris, like the Kumaras. Satyaloka is the abode of the sannyasis.

None of us is exempt from being dragged down from the spiritual platform due to attachment to sex life.

If we engage in hearing and chanting will get spiritual strength, and that spiritual strength is in spiritual happiness.

One who wears the shoes of satisfaction on his feet, is not disturbed by the thorns on the path.

Doing our best for Krishna brings satisfaction. Of course, what is our best cannot remain the same. It must increase. That is Krishna’s desire.

We may realize we cannot go as quickly forward as we desire, and then we may take smaller steps, but we should never take a step backwards.

Once I realized that my present service was always simply preparation for the next service.

I thought I would see others around me who are older who were more surrendered and they would inspire me, but then I saw that was not necessary.

If we take responsibility in devotional service, that will make all the difference.

Eight rounds is not good enough. It means another birth. We missed the boat. It is a good start. But we have to progress to sixteen.

We should accept what the Vaishnavas are offering. It is an opportunity.

You who are my disciples have a bond which is unbreakable. In a marriage you can have a divorce, but there is not a dissolution of the guru-disciple relationship. You can always walk away from it, but the vows still apply.

I met some primordial scream people who believe we each have our own scream, and when we find that scream and express it, we attain liberation. I said, “That is wonderful! We also understand that simply through sound vibration, one can attain liberation. We are all chanting the same sound, but each of us does it in his own way!” And they said, “Wow!”

No one can build our spiritual life for us. The guru and scriptures give us the blocks to use, but we have to do it ourselves.

We must try to increase our commitment. It does not have to be the most difficult thing, it can be an easy thing we add to our life. We can add many little things. By doing that we gain the strength to add bigger things.

We have our point of weakness. When we reach it, we will have to see how we can increase.

It is my desire that we all go back to Godhead at the end of this life. That is why I am sitting with you, singing with you, joking with you, and dancing with you.

‘“Cannot’ is dead and is lying in the cemetery. And ‘want not’ is lying with it.”—a Dutch saying

Marriage is not an eternal situation. It is a support situation. The marriage vow thus is not as important is the initiation vow.

Prabhupada wanted devotees that were independently thoughtful.

Some Memorable Points from the Disciples’ Offerings:

Bhagavati Devi:

Just by thinking of discussing a problem with him gives me clarity.

Sadbhuja Prabhu:

It is not easy to change one’s nature, that I realize more and more, so I ask for your mercy.

Tattvavadi Devi:

Years before someone asked if you if had any disciples and you said, “No, because disciples means trouble.”

One you said regarding my mother, “Oh she looks so young.” That really captured her heart, especially as you said it so spontaneously.

After a program in Heidelberg, we had too few devotees in those days, so you were cleaning the pots. I tried to arrange things to make it easier for you, and you said, “I am a grown up man, I can do it myself.”

Once Jayadvaita Swami had a feast for all the Prabhupada disciples in Mayapur. He had their feet washed, gave them sandalwood pulp, and garlands. He personally served the feast and talked sweetly with them. Everyone got a donation at the end. It was a wonderful demonstration of how to do a perfect feast.

Yudhisthira Dasa:

[He thanked Kadamba Kanana Swami for the name and briefly described the Pandava Yudhisthira’s life and prayed to him to imbibe his qualities.]

Ragalekha Devi [South Africa]:
Kadamda Kanana Swami was at home in South Africa: The Dutch descendents there speak Afrikaans, which Maharaja calls “Dutch without grammar.” From living in Indian, he found himself more Indian than the Indians there. And the blacks love to dance.

Nama Rupa Devi:

I cannot even take prasadam, if I do not do it in service to you.”

Kadamba Kanana Swami did not want me to give him some electronic device I had that he liked. He said that he did not like to accept donations of electronics from his disciples for then he will always be thinking, “What can this person get for me?”

I could not understand why in Brhad-Bhagavatamrita, Hanuman and Prahlad say they did not get any of the Lord’s mercy, when I feel I have some of the Lord’s mercy. You explained that Hanuman and Prahlad felt they had some mercy, but practically none in comparison to the devotees they admired.

Bhakta Martin:

You encourage me like a father even though I have so much difficultly regularly chanting and following the four principles. You are fixed in your sadhana, and always give people what they need to progress. You are always able to see whatever good qualities they have.

Yamuna Devi:

[She has a hair salon with only spiritual magazines on the table and only devotional music playing.]

I am less happy because of not being able to come to you always. Thus I envision you and your programs of sharing.

Sutapa Prabhu:

There are themes in your instructions:

  1. We have to become deeply spiritually nourished. Once I asked you a question, and you spent two hours and ten minutes answering it.
  2. We should make a sacrifice. You went to Bangladesh and every night you had a full-on program to benefit the people.
  3. We should to develop saintly qualities. You once said, “A Vaishnava is not just someone who gets up very early or chants a lot. A Vaishnava is someone who has a heart.”

Not only do you teach these instructions, but you live them.

Once I did a search on all of Prabhupada’s books for “secret of success.” Practically every time Prabhupada said serving the spiritual master is secret of success.

Jananivasa Prabhu, personal servant of Kadamba Kanana Swami:

You once said it is the duty of the guru’s servant to tell stories.

You told me, “For you traveling is harder. For me it is just the body, but for you it is also the mind.”

You told me to get everything together and put it in the car, so we could go. I put it all in the elevator and then put it in a car and sent the elevator back to you. Just then you came down the stairs, and said, “What kind of servant are you? You use the elevator, and your guru has to use the stairs!”

One time you were late for the Caitanya-caritamrita class you were teaching in
Mayapur. You remembered I had a bike, and you asked if I could give you a ride on the bike, and so I happily got to do that service for you.

Ragalekha Devi:

Someone asked Kadamba Kanana Swami, “How do you please the guru?”
He once said, “You please him so deep in his heart he is satisfied.”

Uddhava Prabhu:

[He spoke nicely glorifying the line of teachers from Brahma to Kadamba Kananda Swami.]

Gopali Devi [Slovakia]:

I think every day how to glorify you. You are the most wonderful person I have ever gotten to know, along with Krishna, who is the friend of everyone. Everyone is suffering in this world, and so am I, but I become happy by your association. When you come, I serve you in different ways and do not talk to you very much. But I do felt changed for the better, more so than when I just hear advice of senior devotees and try to fulfill their instructions. There is no limit to my gratitude in you leading me back to Krishna.

Krishna Caitanya Prabhu [Berlin]:

re distributing medicine of Krishnas names,
Youre extinguishing all material flames,
Youre taking risks for Gurus pleasure,
Youre working without any leisure,
Youre serving with devotion steady, 
Youre helping devotees, anytime ready, 
Youre shining like the effulgent sun, 
Youre never thinking, Youre done, 
Youre a transcendental desire-tree, 
Youre a nectar-hunting bumble-bee, 
Youre indeed my life and soul, 
Youre delivering so many to the supreme goal!

There is no end for me to say, 
from my fallen heart I pray, 
that I may remember You, 
day by day, and not go again astray. 

After many lifetimes, hassle and troubles, 
You’ve rescued me atop the ocean bubbles, 
from a dark place so far from home, 
poisoned by illusory foam. 

When I read my little rhyme, 
I realize: Ive got no time!
Better I surrender now and be clever, 
only pleasing you, eternally and forever!

Kasturi Manjari Devi [wife of Madhu Pandit Prabhu, from CZ]:

The master can kick me or pet me. Both are manifestations of his mercy.

I pray to please you and do something useful for this Krishna consciousness movement:

Hrdaya Caitanya Prabhu:

The Queen’s Day mass harinama is like the cherry on your birthday cake.

Visvambhara Prabhu:

While I was just out of high school and I went to India, you even let me stay in your room, because of the prices at the Delhi temple.
Heidelberg TP:

Once you said, “In ISKCON 10% of the devotees do 90% of the work.”

Give me the strength to bring Heidelberg back to the former times in terms of the magnitude of our outreach.

Kadamba Kanana Swami:

By taking shelter of my spiritual master and Srila Prabhupada, I become surcharged with spiritual energy, and that is all I have to offer.

The key for all of us is taking shelter—the key for you, the key for me, and the key for all of us. To take shelter, we all have to stretch. And if we continue to do that, we mature. Miracles can happen, if we stretch, and to do that we must make an endeavor.

The spiritual master is dear to Krishna because he has sacrificed for Krishna and served Krishna. And so he has credit with Krishna, and he can use that credit for us.

When I accept someone, I really accept them on behalf of Krishna and do so in an ongoing way.

For fifteen years, I have done two lectures a day.

I will do less traveling and more writing, but do not take it as a lessening of commitment to our relationship.

Once Srila Prabhupada said, “I instruct my disciples intimately publicly.”

Srila Prabhupada once said, “The whole material world is a backdrop for sex life.” I brought it up to remind us, that we are all struggling together to transcend that influence.

You are all dear to me, although the formal aspect of the relationship is there.

The spiritual master–disciple relationship is always profound. Ever moment of the exchange is deep. One should be fully attentive to it. One should always take it seriously.

The spiritual master is not like a driving instructor.

When I took sannyasa, Jayadvaita Swami said to me, “Now that you have taken sannyasa, I do not know if I will ever see you. Sannyasis wave to each other from planes.”

What do you do when you are attacked by sex desire? The best thing is to do nothing.

I gave my “Yes. Yes. Yes.” class the other day.
Should I remain brahmacari?
Should I get married?”
Should I take sannyasa?”

I expect everyone to chant sixteen rounds. If you have difficulty, then change your situation. For some people, they cannot make it unless they live in a devotee community. If that is your situation, then reside there. Be honest and find the best situation for yourself.

Go to Vrindavana. Go to Mayapur. It is not just a luxury. Go and bring some spiritual strength back.

If you feel you are distant from me. You have to cross the distance somehow or other.

Parmesvara and Gopali are getting second initiation because they are taking care of other devotees. Spiritual life gets better when you take care of other devotees. Then you find the fewer personal problems you have yourself.

Prabhupada said, “Take care of first health, then sadhana, then service.” For older people, health is more important.

The elders are to give knowledge in a concentrated form. When wisdom from a lifetime comes together with the scripture and personal realizations, that is strong. That is what we need.

I have 213 disciples, but I have lost a few people on the way. Let’s not have any more of that. There is a program for everyone, and we can and will make a program for anyone. We are not just alone with our mind and senses. The spiritual master and Krishna can and will help.

As you appreciate me, I appreciate you.

Jayadvaita Swami said, “We are the mutual appreciation society.”

Don’t take a step back. Go forward.

Jayadvaita Swami, as an early disciple of Srila Prabhupada, has been doing things like having feasts or reunions for Srila Prabhupada disciples. Attending such a feast for Prabhupada disciples, to see how substantial their attachment to Srila Prabhupada had become, was inspiring for all of us.

I think of Ramayana as all-devouring dharma—dharma at the expense of everything. I expressed this to Krishna Ksetra Prabhu, and he said, “Well, even Krishna said, ‘Abandon all varieties of dharma and just surrender unto me.’”

I have no other intention but to help you go back to Godhead.

The fact that you wanted to speak is appreciated by me.

Although I am informal in my dealings, we have to do the formal part because I am the representative of Krishna. I do not like this part because I feel like a deity just sitting there, but it is the dharma, and we have to have a little dharma.

from initiation lecture:

The presence of the devotees is auspicious because they can bless the initiates so that they can follow strictly.

The yajna solidifies the vows and invokes the blessings of previous spiritual teachers.

Initiation is a rite of passage.

After sannyasa initiation, the TV crew at the Manor asked if I felt any different. Of course, you do.

We must engage both the mind and senses in Krishna’s service. Then they become more attached to Krishna and less attached to other things.

By hearing about Krishna’s attractiveness, we become attached to Him.

Deity worship is nice because there is no room for speculation.
The moment we have taken the first initiation, we should consider second initiation.

We should always think the spiritual master is always there watching us.

If we offend the devotees, Krishna withdraws His mercy, and chanting becomes difficult.

Brahma and Shiva cannot give liberation. Vishnu can give liberation, but only Krishna can give the love of God.

Offenses create a distance between ourselves and Krishna and delay our progress.

The guru has more authority over us than anyone ever had.

If we are sinking in a swamp and some comes with a plank, and says grab this plank, we will not argue. Similar we should should not disobey the spiritual master.

Bhakivinoda Thakura said only 6% of the Vedic literature was still existing during his lifetime, what to speak of now.

When the acaryas quote a verse from a Vedic literature, it does not mean every statement from the literature is meant for us.

Spiritual life is a mix of liberality and strictness. We have to recognize even a hint of a good quality in others, but we have to be strict about making sure what we eat.

We should not think that chanting Hare Krishna will free us from all our material problems. That kind of thought is the eighth offense.

In a public forum, we read Bhagavad-gita and chant Hare Krishna.

Maintaining material desires is different from having material desires. Maintaining material desires means feeding them, like you might feed a pet.

Queen’s Day 2012

Kadamba Kanana Swami and two double-decker busloads of devotees joined devotees from Amsterdam and nearby locales, and a few from other part of Europe, to sing for almost eight hours at Queen’s Day, a large street festival in Amsterdam, originally in honor of the Queen of the Netherlands and attended by a million people.

Parasurama Prabhu, and some of his assistants from England, came with his beautiful Gaura-Nitai deities.

Many people expressed their happiness at encountering the Hare Krishnas and their chanting by smiling, waving, dancing, chanting, and occasionally offering the devotees a beer, which of course, they refused.

[Thanks to Kavicandra Swami for the picture of Parasurama Prabhu and Vishnujana Prabhu for the other pictures above.]

In past years, I did not talk much to the people but gave invitations to the temple programs to those who seemed attracted. This year Dhananjaya Prabhu advised us not to pass out invitations because people are so intoxicated many invitations are thrown away and few people come from them. I figured there still may be a few sincere souls, so I would talk to the people first before giving out an invitation. Most of the favorable people I talked to were from outside the Netherlands. Five groups came from Spain, with others coming from the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Greece, and the USA. Some had met the devotees in places like Madrid, Dresden, and Venice Beach in Los Angeles. One man had been to our restaurant in Barcelona. I did find two or three people from the Netherlands who said they would be interested in our Sunday program in Amsterdam, and I was happy to be able to connect them with our temple there.

In former years, there had been a couple bands in the middle of the city that were very loud and attracted so many people it was difficult to navigate around them. Their absence this year made it easier for people to hear our chanting and easier to move through the city.

Our booth and stage were in a less crowded place so it was easier to interact with the interested people who did walk by, and that also seemed to be an advantage. I kept chanting, dancing, and talking with people even during our lunch break, and people smiled to see me dancing with a plate of prasadam.

Other bloggers noticed the Hare Krishnas at Queen’s Day this year, including Veronica, from Venezuela, now living in The Hague, who sported an awesome picture of Kavicandra Swami:

And Kaitlin from Atlanta now living in the Utrecht, who commented, “Then an entire parade of Hare Krishna's passed. Their outfits were so beautiful to go along with the orange theme” and included this picture of the devotees:

Dipen Lahkani has several videos on  Queen’s Day 2012 on Facebook:

A lot more can be said about the Queen’s Day experience, and I have described my first experience in an article in Back to Godhead magazine:, which was an edited version of my blog entry on Queen’s Day in 2008, which has a few additional details:


Bhakti Vidya Purna Swami:

We are under the control of the demigods until we understand Krishna is behind everything and engage in His service. Then the demigods assist us in our service to Him. However, if we become proud and think “I am controlling the demigods” then we are again controlled by the demigods. You cannot have your cake and eat it too..

Being an official meditator is not sufficient for perfection because of our need for interaction. Meditation is part of our life of devotional service, but it is not the only thing we do. The yogis who realize the Supersoul and surrender to Him abandon their meditation and engage in His service. Meditation will just bring us to the neutral stage, but we want to go to a positive stage. Still the yogi or meditator is ahead of the karmi because he has the ability to control his senses.

We are motivated by a need for exchange although we may think of or explain ourselves as being motivated by practicality or something else.

Lord Caitanya is in anxiety because He wants to deliver all the conditioned souls. The preacher wants to relieve Lord Caitanya’s anxiety by doing as much as he can do to help, thus he is serving the Lord as a friend by trying to relieve his anxiety.

It appears that karma-yoga, jnana-yogi, dhyana-yogi, buddhi-yoga, and bhakti-yoga are all different paths but in reality they are terms we use in analyzing what is actually only one path. At the end of the Gita, Krishna makes the point that the devotion is the essence.

Karma-yoga is doing activity for Krishna. In that bhakti is also there, but in karma-yoga, it is separated from the activity.

The analytic part of study can take something that is interesting and make it boring, so that cannot be the entire lesson.

Sadhana-bhakti is also called buddhi-yoga because the intelligence is being used to control the mind and senses.

The bhakta (new devotee), who has been only in the temple one day, is also preaching, because that is the best way to please Krishna.

When Krishna says, “This is my opinion,” He is giving the best of the best.

One who needs to make money may choose not make outfits for the deity department in exchange for money because he feels bad taking money from the deity department. Instead he opens a tailoring business, but he becomes too busy to even come around the temple. So his seeming noble sentiment lost him a chance to connect with Krishna and become purified. He could have thought, “If I take money from the deity department, I should make very first-class outfits and should live very simply.” In that way, his devotional service would have increased.

The devotee in the middle stage is always engaged in devotional service like the devotee on the highest level, but he serves according to his materially conditioned nature like the devotee on the beginning level.

The devotee on the highest level sees the attraction of the people in general for the material things to be caused by qualities of Krishna partially manifested in those things. He will see someone attracted to a shiny car because the shininess of Krishna is partially manifested in it. In that way, he sees the person is already interacting with Krishna.
All people are conscious of God but not always favorably so, because they do not know they are conscious of God.

It is all about being attracted to Krishna and desiring to please Krishna. All the rules are meant to bring us to this.

The gopis are not attracted to Krishna because He is God. They just like Him as a person. The residents of Vaikunthaloka, on the other hand, are attracted to Narayana because He is God, which is perfectly alright, but it is just a different level of attraction.

Knowledge should take you toward the Lord. If it takes you away it is ignorance.
Knowledge of the Lord is complete knowledge. Of course, because the Lord is unlimited, one can not have know Him completely. Still, knowledge of Brahman and Paramatma is partial knowledge whereas knowledge of the personality of the Lord is complete knowledge.

Nyaya (logic) is useless as a philosophy but still logic can be engaged in the Lord’s sacrifice.

Except for the Pancaratna, Vedanta-sutra, and Srimad-Bhagavatam, the Vedic works are material. Srimad-Bhagavatam is unique among the Puranas because it is completely transcendental.

We need to associate with devotees who are compatible with us, people who inspire us.
The preacher always has the Lord’s association because he is so dear to the Lord (Bg. 18.69). “Instruct everyone to follow the orders of Lord Sri Krishna as they are
given in the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. In this way become a spiritual master and try to liberate everyone in this land.” Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu further advised the brahmana Kurma, “If you follow this instruction, your materialistic life at home will not obstruct your spiritual advancement. Indeed, if you follow these regulative principles, we will again meet here, or, rather, you will never lose My
company.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 7.128–129)

Because the preacher takes risks for the Lord, he is acting as a friend.

You are becoming Krishna consciousness, and you are making facility for others to attain Krishna consciousness. You are following the nine processes of devotional service and you are following the six items of surrender. Now you give that to others.

Devotees told Srila Prabhupada that some Christians say that after the crucifixion that Christ revived himself and preached in India. Prabhupada said that version made more sense to him.

Sometimes we know what our philosophy is, but we do not know what it is not. Sometimes the other Vedic philosophies seem similar to ours as a weed sometimes resembles a plant.

Modern education is so secular that even when important historical ideas have religious roots they are often not presented in that way.

Knowing that we are spiritual is a neutral stage between material life and devotional life. Appreciating the spiritual is better than appreciating the material, but it is not good enough.

Are we conscious of Krishna? Are we conscious of Krishna while we are doing our sadhana? Are we conscious of Krishna while we are not doing our sadhana.

Advertisers present a situation which they claim will make you happy. They do not talk about how you will be happy acting in that situation, because in reality you won’t.

Devotees understand because they are eternal servants of Krishna, they will not be satisfied without serving Krishna no matter how nice a situation they are in, so for them, the situation does not matter.

Kavicandra Swami says that in Japan when people meet each other, they never ask each other how they are, because they will start thinking of all the things that they are dissatisfied about in their lives and it would be too much to deal with.

The idea that we can enjoy is constant because ananda (bliss) is a quality of the soul. Thus a materialist tries one thing after another to try to become happy.

I am watching the television and you are watching the television, so we have a relationship, but there is no depth to that relationship, and therefore, it is not satisfying.

We experience enjoyment when the senses are in contact with their objects. But how long is that? Then there are just memories of when the senses were in contact with their objects.

When we try to please Krishna we are happy, and when we are trying to please ourselves we are not happy.

The sense enjoyment we get is also Krishna, but because it is indirectly Krishna, it is not as satisfying is connecting with Krishna directly through devotional service.

Maharaja Yayati borrowed his son’s youth for 1,000 years and tried to be happy with all varieties of kingly sense enjoyment. He finally gave it up, satisfied by his understanding that there is no satisfaction in sense enjoyment in this world

Baladeva Vidyabhusana has nine prameyas needed to understand Gaudiya Vaishnava philosophy:

  1. Godhead is the highest truth.
  2. He is known through revelation.
  3. The material world is real.
  4. The Lord and the living entities are different.
  5. The living entities are servants of the Lord.
  6. There are grades of souls, liberated, bound, and fortunate.
  7. Liberation is attaining the lotus feet of Krishna.
  8. The process is devotional service.
  9. Proofs are three: perception, inference, and authority.

Disposable income. That’s a great term—income you can flush down the toilet.

quotes from Srila Prabhupada on world problems:

  1. Animals are never concerned with overpopulation,
  1. There is no question of national; everything belongs to God.
  2. If Krishna is the original father, what is the question of race? We are all brothers.

If we are thinking some result of an activity is more valuable than pleasing the Lord, that is a mistake.

If steadiness and faith is prominent, it is pure devotional service.

Kirtana always has unlimited value, but according to our surrender, we appreciate more or less of it.

By doing your prescribed duties, your needs will be met. If you do the duties for Krishna, your needs will still be met, and you will advance toward Krishna.

Action generates purity. Knowledge alone does not produce purity.

Krishna often says to perform one’s duties for Him (karma-yoga), with mind and intelligence engaged in Him (jnana-yoga), always remembering Him (dhyana-yoga), and for His pleasure (bhakti-yoga).

Mukunda Maharaja:

from Miracle on 26 Second Avenue:

I had heard him [Srila Prabhupada] say many times that he had prayed to Rupa Goswami for strength to take Krishna consciousness to the West.

Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami:

from 108 Prabhupada Poems:

I said some people speak against milk
purchased from stores. They say it’s supporting
cow slaughter. But Prabhupada took it. He wanted people to drink milk and then
when they were convinced it was good
they’d stop killing cows.”

from 108 Japa Poems:

Time after time
I rise early and
grab my beads
and try not to live a lie.
Every time I try,
I stumble after a while
and lose my attention
I repeatedly grow
tired in the eyes
and sometimes get headaches.
Time after time I
enter a romance,
a love affair,
me and my beads,
me and
I know it’s Krishna
and try to realize it
beyond the theory,
but time after time
I fail to perform
perfect chanting.
I’m doing aparadhas [offenses]
and sometimes namabhasa [the clearing stage]
but never at the perfect stage although I
try time after time.
Every morning I am there,
sitting in the early morn,
starting off with hesitation.
I grow determined and
continue for two hours,
but never do I see
the Lord in His names.
Time after time,
I’m a failure yet
a success. It’s hard
to explain: I love
to do it but can’t
do it well.
I’m avoiding hell
but not entering Goloka by my
harinama in
Lord Caitanya’s golden footsteps.

from his April 20, 2012, poem:

Prabhupada said any
enthusiastic dance was all right,
but we should do it
with our hands upraised
as demonstrated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

from April 16, 2012, poem:

I grow older but my spirit remains young, worshiping the yugala kisora [the youthful couple, Radha and Krishna].

Pankajanghri Prabhu:

If we cannot always remember Krishna, the rules are to keep us from straying off the path of self-realization.

The Supersoul is always there, but Vrindavan Krishna does reciprocate with anything but pure devotional service.

Krishna is not responsible for our happiness and distress. It comes from the choices we make. He sets up the rules, but we choose what to do. “These are the social positions. These are the rules. It is up to you to choose who to act.”

Because in vaidhi-bhakti our love is not spontaneous, it does not reach Radha-Krishna. But Radha-Krishna as Lord Caitanya, however, will accept our regulative worship and bring us to the higher stage.

Krishna Smaranam Prabhu:

Lord Siva is showing by His example not to just ask the Lord for some benediction but to glorify His universal management, His appearances, His pastimes, His beauty and His mercy.

Pure devotees can conquer the Lord as Yasoda tied Him up and Arjuna ordered Him to place his chariot between the two armies.

Some you have been hearing class for 40 years, but still there is something new, and thus glorification of the Lord is a festival for the mind.

One dear devotee of the Lord was so busy serving his parents, when the Lord appeared, he asked the Lord to stand on one brick (vitthal) and wait until he had time for Him. Thus the Lord became known as Vitthalnatha.

Yasoda Dulal Prabhu:

Lord Shiva has full knowledge of Lord Vishnu, being an empowered guna avatar. He does not have to study like us.

Markandeya Rsi as a child was predicted to die at the age of seven. His parents approached Lord Brahma, who was surrounded by the Sapta Rsis, the Seven Sages, and begged that their son have a long life. By the blessing of Lord Brahma and the sages he got the boon of living seven kalpas.

Sometimes Gadadhara Pandit is described to be Radharani without Her jealous anger.

One time during the Muslims rule, the Muslims took the form of Lord Jagannath from the Puri temple to Kolkata and had it in incinerated. One Puri brahmana entered into the fire to the amazement of the Muslims, and without being seen, took from the navel of Jagannath a piece that is transferred from one deity to the other when the Jagannath deity is periodically replaced. He took it back to Puri and the brahmanas constructed a new deity. This piece is said to derive from the incineration of an illusory material form that Krishna created when he left the world so the materialists would not be disturbed in their conception of Him as an ordinary person.

All the principal gopis in Lord Krishna’s pastimes came as brahmanas in Lord Caitanya’s pastimes.

When Lord Caitanya left Puri to visit Vrindavan, He forbade Gadadhara Pandit to follow Him, reminding him of his vow to stay in Puri and worship Tota Gopinath. Lord Caitanya mentioned that He did not want to be responsible for Gadadhara breaking his vow. Gadadhara Pandit wanted Lord Caitanya’s association so much he countered by saying he would travel on his own to Vrindavan so Lord Caitanya would not be responsible for breaking his vow. Ultimately to please Lord Caitanya, he remained in Puri, although it was painful for him.

Comment by Jananivasa Prabhu: The whole of Navadvipa dhama floats like a lotus on the water of devastation but is not inundated.

Comment by Pankajanghri Prabhu: When Gadadhara Pandit became old, he could no longer reach the deity to dress Him. Reciprocating Gadadhara Pandit’s great love, the deity sat down to facilitate his service, and He remains today in the sitting posture.


As Sri Gauracandra appeared in Navadvipa, it is therefore the crest jewel of all holy places. Offenders are the object of punishment at other holy pilgrimage places, but in Navadvipa-dhama they are purified. . . . He who lives in Navadvipa-dhama is very fortunate, for he achieves attraction for Krishna. He who happens to go there becomes freed from all offenses. What one attains by traveling to all the holy places is attained just by remembering Navadvipa. In this way the scriptures sing. He who sees Navadvipa-dhama gets ecstatic love of Krishna birth after birth. Even one who goes to Navadvipa desiring to gain material comforts through pious activities will not take another birth. . . . The fruits obtained by staying one hundred years at the seven holy cities can be attained by staying one night in Navadvipa-dhama. In conclusion, Navadvipa is the topmost tirtha [holy place]. Taking shelter of it, the living entities can cross over Kali-yuga.” (Sri Navadvipa-dhama Mahatmya)